July 21, 2008

Down On The T-Bar-V Ranch

I can barely recall the events of that day, almost fifty years ago yesterday in fact. Mom stuck a thermometer in my mouth. “He looks like he might be sick around the eyes.” I had a low grade fever and a slight sore throat. I remember Mom giving me an orange aspirin to chew. The only part of the drive I remember was along Brownsboro road and then downtown where the television studio was.

I was in a line with two dozen other children and their mothers. The other kids were dressed in their cowboy and cowgirl finery, the stringed hats, pot metal revolvers in plastic holsters, and the luckier kids wearing cowboy boots. The doors to the studio opened and we all filed in and sat on the little benches on either side of the studio, the Cactus side or the Randy side. I definitely wanted the Randy side as Cactus was just to scary looking for my taste with all his bizarre cowboy/clown-like makeup on his face. I remember thinking that Cactus looked like that all the time. Randy and Cactus were seated side by side at the head of the studio with a painted covered wagon for a background.

I remember a man behind the camera counting down, “five … four … three … two … one! We were live and on air. Randy and Cactus sang the opening T-Bar-V song and all the kids stomped their feet. It was quite an exciting racket. All the kiddies knew the drill. Your name would be called and you would walk up and be introduced by Randy or Cactus. You would wave and say your hello’s to family members and then the big moment when you would draw and “fire” your gun on the count of three. There were several breaks in the show for cartoons but eventually it came time for my moment in the sun. “This is five year old Barry McClain who lives right here in Louisville, Kentucky. Why don’t you say hi to your family Barry?” I have zero recollection what I said, or if in fact I said anything at all. On the count of three I drew my gun lightning fast and that was it, the big moment was over and I don’t remember anything after that.

T-Bar-V was a live local TV show that ran on WHAS from 1951 to 1970, every week day at 4 o'clock and I watched it most every day when I was a kid. Since it was a live show and before VCR's, there aren't any recordings of the show.

51 comments:

  1. Great post! Love the pictures, too. Here's the song, see if you can sing along..Brush your teeth each morning ger lots of sleep at night mind your mom and daddy cause they know what is right lots of exercise each day and eat up all your food and always wear a great big smile that makes you look so good be sure to look both left and right before you cross the street and be with us tomorrow at 9 when its T bar V ranch time!!!! (hahah)

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    1. Still words to live by...50 something and live in Florida now

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  2. P.s. there is this blog I read about Ft Wayne and it is about her memories of the Fort when she was a girl. Being from small town of Versailles, there is little that has changed (except the subdivisions that have sprung like mushrooms) but Lousiville...ah, the state fair, Shakes. in the park, the concerts at the place downtown, Churchill Downs, the Derby Dinner play house etc. etc. etc. Wasn't there a place called Fountain Ferry? I remember hearing my friends talk going when they were younger.

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  3. alphawoman,

    I grew up with Randy and Cactus. T-Bar-V Ranch time is definitely one of the sweet memories of my childhood. Thank you very much for posting the lyrics of their theme song!

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  4. alphawoman,

    Fontaine Ferry (we called it Fountain Ferry) was a great place for kids and young adults. It was closed in 1969. Here is a link to a website that is trying to keep their memory alive. Check it out

    http://www.fontaineferrypark.com/

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  5. Too bad there's no recordings of the show! My wife was on it around '68. I'd love to see that episode. Odd coincidence: Her maiden name is McClain!

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  6. I was on the show in the mid-50's, on my 4th or 5th birthday and it was a great memory for me! Since I was kind of a ham, I had Fanner 50's AND a sawed-off (Chuck Conners, I think)shotgun that I got to draw... Thanks for taking me back!

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  7. Do you have the words to the T Bar V theme song.

    Brent
    brentvinson@earthlink.net

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  8. the pink tornadoMarch 13, 2009

    My sister and I went to the ranch some time around 1965. Our birthdays are at Christmas time and being on the show was our birthday present. I was soooo mad because I wanted to sit on Randy's lap but I had to sit with Cactus! AND I had my list ready of people to say "hi" to ("Hi, Mommy and Daddy and Grandma and Grandpa and...I had been practicing) but NOOOOOO, we had to tell what we wanted for Christmas! I wish I had a picture of my sister and I on the show, but no such luck. Thanks for the memories!

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  9. AnonymousJune 13, 2009

    I NEVER GOT TO BE ON THE SHOW.
    BUT, I NEVER MISSED AN EPISODE.
    I REMEBER SITTING IN THE LIVING ROOM FLOOR EATING A BOWL OF CEREAL
    AND DRINKING MY JUICE. I LOVED THE IDEA OF TELLING EVERYONE HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON THE AIR. I KNOW IT MADE ME FEEL VERY SPECIAL THAT DAY. WOW WHAT GREAT MEMORIES FOR ME. THANK YOU FOR TAKING ME BACK TO A SPECIAL TIME OF MY LIFE.

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  10. I was on the show around 1968.
    :)
    - videodon -

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  11. I hadn't thought about the show for years, until I had a son a few years ago and needed to find creative ways to get him to sit still while I brushed his teeth. I started singing the theme song, which, of course, starts with "Brush your teeth each morning." I'd add "one more time" at the end to get him to sit still through a second rendition. It really worked, and he got to the point where he asked me to sing the song during brushing if I forgot to. Thanks for the memories everyone.

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  12. my mom was on the show dec of 1969. she talks about how much she loved the show all the time and ive been trying to find out if there is anywhere u can request videos/episodes from. If anyone knows please post back or email me at mandylion2323@yahoo.com! Thanks so much!

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  13. I ALWAYS wanted to be on T-Bar-V Ranch. When I was 6 I asked if I could be on the show. My mom always knew how to put things off by saying, "We'll see". It took me years to learn that "We'll see" means "no".
    But I kept trying, every year, to talk her into letting me be on the show. When I was 7: "Can I be on T-Bar-V?".
    "We'll see".
    When I was 8: "Please, please mom, can I be on T-Bar-V? All the smart kids go on."
    "We'll see".
    When I was 9: "Mom, I want to go on T-Bar-V. Can I, please, can you please take me, pleeeeeeeease?"
    "Oh, I don't know. I'd have to take off work and take you."
    "No you wouldn't, I could take the bus and then stay with Dad at work!"
    "We'll see".
    Year after year it went on this way. Always the same results.
    By the age of 13 I was DESPARATE to be on T-Bar-V.
    "Mom, can I please go on T-Bar-V this year? Please, please, PLEASE. I'll take out the garbage, I clear the dinner table, I'll walk the dog...I'll do whatever you want! I'll come to the A&P and walk home with you every day! Please let me go on T-Bar-V."
    My mother looked at me for a long while. I thought for sure she couldn't turn me down this year.
    Finally, she looked me right in the eye and said, "Oh, Jordy, don't you think you're a little too old for that show?"

    The other day, my 83 year old mother asked if I would drive up from Florida to take her to a Renee Fleming concert in Cincinnati.
    I paused only a moment before replying,
    "We'll see".

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  14. Does anyone remember which bank T-Bar-V used for it's viewers saving accounts.

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  15. I believe the bank was Citizens Fidelity. I was on the show in 1953 and they gave us little molded banks shaped like a ranch house with T-Bar-V on the front.

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  16. AnonymousJuly 08, 2010

    I was on T-Bar-V somewhere in the early 60's. I so wish my mom had taken a picture. I really can't remember anything except waiting to go in the studio. I know I had a cowgirl outfit, red and black and my little brother had a matching one. In fact we may both have gone. Sure do wish I could remember and that there was just one tape of this show, it had such a long run!
    Angela

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  17. AnonymousJuly 16, 2010

    I was on the show probably 1960. I remember the birthday cake and the stomping feet when the show came on. "It's T Bar V ranch time"

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  18. What are the lyrics to the theme song does anyone remember all of them.

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  19. I was on when I was 5 and 6--1953 and 1954. I was shy and probably didn't say much. One year we got hotdogs and the other year it was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I remember sigtting on benches on either side of Randy Atcher and Cactus Tom Brooks. When I was 9 I was supposed to be on again, but my mother thought I was getting a little too old for the show. I just don't think she felt like taking me downtown that day. To this day I still remember the songs. The one about the savings bank goes like this: "Listen boys and girls to me. I've just got to boast/'cause my money's safe for me at the Savings Post. Get yourself a savings bank. Fill it to the lid. Take it to the Savings Post and you'll be glad you did."
    Someone already posted the theme song lyrics above.

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  20. Colleen JeffriesOctober 11, 2010

    Here are the lyrics:

    brush you teeth each morning. Get lots of sleep at night. Mind your mama and daddy, for they know what is right. Get lots of exercise today, and eat up all your food. And always wear a great big smile, which makes you look so good. Look both left and right before you cross the street. And be with us tomorrow night. When it is time for T Bar V.

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  21. Colleen JeffriesOctober 11, 2010

    Here are the lyrics:

    Brush you teeth each morning. Get lots of sleep at night. Mind your mama and daddy, for they know what is right. Get lots of exercise today, and eat up all your food. And always wear a great big smile, which makes you look so good. Look both left and right before you cross the street. And be with us tomorrow night. When it is time for T Bar V.

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  22. What were the lyrics to the Happy Birthday song they used? Was it to the same tune as T Bar V Ranch time, or has time warped my brain to believe that? It went something like:
    Happy, Happy Birthday to you and all your friends.

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  23. Happy happy birthday, from all of us to you. Happy happy birthday, may all your dreams come true. May you have happy birthdays, all your whole life through. Happy happy birthday, to you and you and everybody!

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  24. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY,
    MAY ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE,
    HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY,
    FROM ALL OF US TO YOU,
    MAY YOU HAVE HAPPY BIRTHDAYS,
    NOW AND YOUR WHOLE LIFE THROUGH,
    HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY,
    TO YOU AND YOU AND YOUUUUUUU

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  25. John HarmonJanuary 20, 2011

    Randy had a band called the Red River Ramblers. They performed on friday every friday night on "HAYLOFT HOWDOWN" The fiddle player was "Sleepy" Marlin" I graduated from high school in 1962 with his son Jack who now heads up "The Marlinaires" I am now in Nashville. But will never forget my days growing up in "Kentuckiana" and T-Bar-V.

    John

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  26. I was on the show for my 6th birthday. I thought it was such a big deal and I was very nervous. I sat on Randy's knee and waved to all my family and said hello. WHAS never taped any of those shows in all those years? I would pay money to have a copy of the show I was on. I bet a lot of people would.

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  27. What did we do before the internet???-For some reason t bar v ranch has been in the back of my mind all these yrs. I lived in Lousiville(St. Mathews) the first 10 yrs. of my life from the late 40,s to the mid 50's then we moved to Richardson, Tx (Dallas, Tx) where I still live today. I did appear on the show on my 5th or 6th birthday. I still remember it! Cant believe people still recall it!! I remember I was scared!! Dont remember whose lap I sat on. Where has the time gone??

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  28. the end of the happy birthday song was.." happy happy birthday to you and you and you all out there"......then they continued with "brush your teeth each morning get lots of sleep at night , mind your mom and daddy cause they know what is right; get lots of exercise each day and eat up all your food and always wear a great big smile it makes you look so good; be sure to look both left and right before you cross the street and be with us tomorrow night when it's time for t bar v"
    I was on when I was about 5 and the big day came and i suddenly didn't want to go! I was shy. It turned out that the tickets had been very hard to get so I was forced to go in spite of my shyness. The song however has been indelibly etched in my memory and I sang it to my kids and grandkids. thanks Randy and Cactus for a wonderful childhood memory.

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  29. I can remember sitting on the bleachers with all the other brave little Aries children celebrating their birthdays (I think I was turning 4!) We were all bragging how we were going to go to Cactus....but not so brave when we saw him in full make-up close up!! I went straight to Randy!!

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  30. I remember sitting on the bleachers too. In my favorite dress and black mary jane shoes. Waiting nervously to be on TV. Stomping your feet when the show came on. I was lucky enough to be on the show 2 times. I got to sit on cactus lap for my birthdays. I remember the puppet in the middle. I think I reached up and tried to grab it on my first time on the show. But then I was warned by my mom, not to touch the puppet. When I did reach for the puppet, I think they went to a commercial real quick. I don't think they were expecting anyone to grab the puppet. LOL

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  31. AnonymousMay 05, 2011

    I grew up outside Detroit, but my mom is from Louisville and when we went to visit our relatives there my brother and I never missed T bar V! We wished we could have gone on television on our birthdays. Thanks for the memories

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  32. AnonymousJune 11, 2011

    The theme song started "Howdy, howdy boys and girls it's T-Bar-V Ranch Time."...Then my memory fades...The quotes I've seen so far are for the end. What's the rest of the opening song?

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    1. AnonymousJune 29, 2012

      We're glad to see you all again and hope you're feeling fine. We'll sing and play and have a show and birthday party too, it's t bar v ranch time.

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  33. AnonymousJune 15, 2011

    I know the next line is "We're glad to see you all today and hope you're feeling fine" but I can't remember what's next.

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  34. AnonymousJuly 08, 2011

    I was on the show twice and have great memories of it. I, too, was a bit afraid of Cactus, yet fascinated by him. When it came time for the big moment to wave hello to all my family, I spoke so softly no one could hear me. But, will always treasure my memories.

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  35. Oh, my gosh!!! I have talked about this show to everyone I've known all my life. Just today I was telling my oldest daughter, who is 22, again for the millionth time all about my experience on T- Bar V!!! Her boyfriend went to Google and the site popped up.
    I am so surprised to see just how many people still remember the show and their memories of being on it.
    I lived in Louisville from the time I was 3 and a half until I was 9 and a half. I lived on Southern Parkway and went to Rutherford Elementary on 3rd Street. My favorite shows were Seseame Street, The Flinstone's, The Monkee's, Dark Shadow's and of course T-Bar V!!!
    I got to be on the show for my 5th birthday, which would have been in the fall of 1966. After reading everyone's comments I see that I am in the minority, I loved Cactus and I wanted to be on his side and I was!
    When it was my turn to go up I was so excited to talk to Cactus. I had long blonde hair, I could sit on the tip of it then and I remember Cactus making me turn around for the camera to show them just how long hair was!
    And I used to wear my aunts initial ring on my wedding ring finger and Cactus noticed it too. He asked me if I was married!!! Ha!!!! I was embarrassed, I think I said "No." So he asked me why not and I said, "Because I'm too young to get married."
    I loved my childhood growing up in Louisville. Times were simple, sweet and innocent then!
    Since the 60's I have moved back to Louisville for a brief period in my early 20's to work, but I now live in the same little town we moved to when I was 10.
    I wish they had the tapes from the shows, I would love to just see one. I didn't remember all of the song so thanks to those who did.
    I'm so glad there is a website about this show. My children have heard me talk about it and I have shown them the pictures many times. Now they know it was a real show and many other people remember it too!

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  36. AnonymousJuly 17, 2011

    I was to be on the show on my 5th birthday. They always said happy birthday to kids who could not make the show. I was to have my tonsils out, and I remember standing in front of the TV with my coat on watching for them to call my name. They finally did and off I went to St. Joseph's hospital in 1958. I remember the closing song just a bit differently: "Brush your teeth each morning; get lots of sleep at night. Mind your mom and daddy, for they know what is right. Get lots of exercise each day, and eat up all your food. And always wear a great big smile; it makes you look so good. Be sure to look both left and right before you cross the street. And be with us tomorrow at 9, when it's T Bar V Ranch time." Fun!--G Cook

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    1. It's be with us tomorrow night when it's t bar v ranch time nothing to do with 9 the show came on at four o clock around suppertime

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  37. AnonymousJuly 29, 2011

    I was on the show when I turned $ yrs. old. I would love to find that episode!! *4 yrs. old, i meant.

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  38. AnonymousJuly 29, 2011

    I was raised in Louisville until I was over 14 yrs. old. I lived in Okolona.

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  39. I know what you mean about Cactus looking scary. I went on T-Bar-V when I turned four. That would have been September 1965. I believe Cactus was supposed to be a rodeo clown. His make up looked greasy. Afterwards my mother asked why I choose Randy rather than Cactus. I said, "That Cactus, he's a mess."

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  40. Great old show. My Mom took a picture with Randy, Cactus and Me of course in the cowboy outfit. Wish they still had these shows. I went around 1958.

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  41. I really need to find out how to get the words to a song that was performed on this show. My mother watched the show as a child and has asked me to come up with this song "Santa Rides A Snow White Pony" Does anybody have a clue? CMorris1456@aol.com

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  42. Me and my 3 cousins, ( Teresa, Brenda and Ricky ) were on in the late 60's. I have treasured the memories of being on T bar V. Thanks WHAS for the great treasrues you have given us over the years... And to Randy and Cactus..
    Rita

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  43. I was lucky to see Tom Brooks in his later years in a Nursing home he remembered all the words to the song and sang it for everyone he passed on in that home and very very little if any did Randy or his brother Foster ever come to see him this to me was sad I have some pictures of him and his brother fixing line poles during the flood in 1927 he was a fine man and played great pool in his time Like Jackie Gleason (In the Hustler)who really could shoot pool beyond most men I know He played me in Dixie Bowl on Dixie Highway

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  44. AnonymousJuly 16, 2012

    I was on the show in 1959-60 and 61.I was shocked that the birthday cake was'nt real.t-bar-v is a memory i will never forget,a special place in my childhood.i was lucky enough to play music with randy atcher years later and he still sang the songs.my parents insurance man was Shorty Chesser,who played on Hayloft Hoedown.those days are just memories now and i'm sorry my kids and grand kids did'nt get a chance to see one of the best local shows on tv.

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  45. The Savings Post song doesn't ring a bell but I do recall the Santa song. As I recall it went like this

    Clippety-clop-clop, Clippety-clop-clop
    Santa rides a snow white pony
    Clippety-clop-clop, Clippety-clop-clop
    Out west where the sun shines only

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  46. I was on the show with my cousin Debbie in 1965. I was 5 and she was 6. I got in trouble for shooting a cap gun while they were on air. " Just told to stop by some guy with headphones on". What disappointed me most was that there were no cartoons that we could watch, and the cake was made of Plaster thus we didn't get any. Heartbroken!

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  47. One other thing, Most people don't know, But Cactus Brooks is Foster Brooks Brother.

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  48. I was on the show 2 times in the very early 60's...LUCKY ME! Randy was my hero and I still play the guitar today due mostly to watching him play and wanting to learn.
    Both times the director sent me to sit on Cactus' lap.
    The second time I was on, al of us kids started calling for Mr. Noo, the puppet and Cactus told us SHHHHH! That kinda scared me but what a great childhood memory I have.

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